Dr. Helana Darwin is an award-winning sociologist who researches the reproduction of social inequality. Her ongoing research arc theorizes gender inequality through a wide range of subcultures, both online and offline. Helana’s work achieved over one hundred academic citations during graduate school alone.
Helana’s dissertation research (and first book manuscript) focuses on the social experiences of non-binary people (those who identify as neither man nor woman). Based on a virtual ethnography of a social media site (Symbolic Interaction) and a follow up series of in-depth interviews with 47 non-binary people from across the globe, this research illuminates the limitations and harmful effects of the gender binary system. Helana earned the Joyce Turner Dissertation Fellowship Award from Stony Brook University for this research. She has published two articles from this data thus far, including: “Navigating the Religious Gender Binary” (Sociology of Religion) and “Challenging the Cisgender/ Transgender Binary: Non-binary people and the transgender label” (Gender & Society). The former received Honorable Mention from the Sociology of Religion Section of ASA for the best paper by a graduate student. The book version of Helana’s dissertation has received several contract offers.
Helana is beginning her next substantive research arc as a Visiting Research Associate in the Religion Department at Rutgers University. This arc represents a shift in focus from gender binaries to racial and religious binaries, highlighting the complexity of Jewish racial subjectivities and constructions beyond White/Not White. This project will begin with a pilot study called “White but Jewish.”
Helana also recently completed her second book, intended for a general reading audience, called #MeTooPhD: A Trauma Memoir. She is currently searching for a literary agent and a press for this book.